Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals
Although only a point separates them in the standings the Capitals have run over their Metro Division rivals in the season series. Three losses from three with an aggregate scoreline of 10-1 has surely injured Pittsburgh's pride and this matchup is never friendly. Washington would have brought the better form tonight had they not dropped to Philadelphia on Sunday, prior to that Barry Trotz's side had rolled to four straight wins. Powered by Evgeni Malkin the Penguins have won back to back over St. Louis and Florida to halt their slide away from the division lead.
All three previous meetings have been temperamental and it was Washington who were the ones to use the numerous powerplay opportunities to their benefit. Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr have been the main threats combining for six goals past Marc-Andre Fleury. Another reason might be the insider knowledge of defenders Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik who both joined from Pittsburgh in the summer. Considering the results that have gone before I think Washington are the right call here.
Ottawa Senators at Anaheim Ducks
A third period rally to beat Detroit in a shootout typified Anaheim's gritty efforts all season and extended their streak to three. The Sens are starting out on a West Coast road trip and haven't managed to win in regulation away at a current playoff qualifier. Solid wins over Florida and Montreal should at least have them feeling optimistic, despite what many would describe as a poor campaign the postseason is still a possibility. Erik Karlsson is riding a six game point streak and it's no coincidence his production was boosted when defensive partner Marc Methot returned from injury around the turn of the year.
I'm sure this remains a fixture circled in Bobby Ryan's diary as he aims to put one over his former team, he's at 4.30 to score tonight. I don't think Ryan has become the elite player many hoped but the Ducks are yet to reap the full benefits of that trade either with Jakub Silfverberg not building on his rookie year. As the 6-2 win for Ottawa in December showed they have the speed to get behind the Ducks and cause them problems, go big and back the tie at 4.10.
Best Bet: Washington Capitals to win at 2.40